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PERSONAL NARRATIVES 



OF EVKNTS IN THE 



War OF THE Rebellion 

BEING PAPERS PvEAD BEFORE THE 

RHODE ISLAND SOLDIERS AND SAILORS 
HISTORICAL SOCIETY 



Second Series — No. 18. 



PKOVIDENCE 
SIDNEY S. RIDER. 

1SS3. 



HROVIDKNCE PRESS COMPANY, PKINTEKS. 



INCIDENTS OF SERVICE 



■VX'ITH IHK 



ELEVENTH REGIMENT 



RHODE ISLAND VOLUNTEERS, 



CHARLES H. PARKHURST. 



I'KOVIDKNCE 
SIDNEY S R I D E U 

1883. 



This Edition Limited to 
TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY COPIES. 



THE NINE MONTHS' MEN 

[Kead before the Society, February 11, 1880.] 



The unexpected aud untoward results of General 
McClellan's march upon Eichmond by the peninsular 
route in 1862, while sadly discouraging to those who 
had looked upon the young general as the appointed 
leader who was to conduct our army to triumphant 
success, yet served to intensify the determination of 
the loyal people of the country, to strengthen in 
every possible way, the hand of the government in 
the impending contest. 

Probably no single act of President Lincoln dur- 
ing the early years of the war, met with such univer- 
sal acceptance as his appointment of McClellan as 
general in chief. His youth, his marked success in 



6 THE NINE MONTHS SIEN. 

northern and western Virginia, at once gave to him 
the prestige of success. Even criticism, so rife in 
later days, was silent. His plans for re-organizing 
the arm}' and placing it on a new footing, were ac- 
cepted by the country, even before they were known, 
and when impatient loyalty clamored for a forward 
movement, his delays were attributed to the wise 
foresight and precaution of the skillful soldier, to 
whom were now freely attributed all the virtues and 
wisdom of the great captains of former times, and 
when, after weeks of incessant toil and struggle, the 
peninsular campaign was ended by the withdrawal of 
the army from before Richmond, the vast majority 
of the north were loud in their commendations of his 
brilliant strategy in the conduct of his so-called mas- 
terly retreat. He still to an unexampled degree 
commanded the admiration and retained the fullest 
confidence of his defeated, but unconquered troops. 
Just at this juncture of affairs, a new candidate for 
military glory came prominently to the front in the 
person of General John Pope, who had recently been 
assigned to the command of the army of Virginia. 
His orders on assuming command were universal I v 



THE NINE :\IONTHS JNIEN. 7 

construed as an open criticism upon General McClel- 
lan's methods, and hence General Pope was at once 
and almost by common consent gazetted for failure 
by the army of the Potomac, and in fact by every 
one. Defeat under General Pope was already a 
foregone conclusion. General Pope informed his 
army in his opening address, that he had come from 
the west, where they had always seen the backs of 
their enemies ; from an army which sought the enemy, 
and whose policy was attack and not defense. He 
established headquarters in the saddle and wished 
soldiers to forget such phrases as taking and holding 
strong positions ; lines of retreat ; bases of sujaplies ; 
that his army was to study the probable lines of re- 
treat of the enemy and allow their own to take care 
of themselves ; to look forward and not behind, etc. 
With such proclamations and under such a leader, 
the army of Virginia commenced its campaign, which 
in a few short weeks culminated in the second Bull 
Run and the battle of Chantilly General Pope was 
relieved of his command to the general acceptation 
of the country, and he followed the advice of Horace 
Greeley and went west. 



8 THE MNE MOMlls' MEN. 

Thus opened the month of September, 1862. The 
couvietion that there had eome an eventful crisis in 
affairs was wide spread. Our two great armies in 
Virginia had been most disastrously repulsed, and 
the confederate forces had at least, been partially 
successful, and the outlook was by no means cheer- 
ing. In July previous, the Presidei;t had ordered 
a draft of three hundred thousand men for three 
years, and in August another draft of the same num- 
ber of militia for nine months, and but slight response 
had been made to either of these calls. Our army 
was no longer before Richmond, but was defending 
Washington, and Lee was marching northward. 

Suddenly, and almost as by magic, the saddened 
peojDle were aroused from their despondency, and 
began again to realize that they had a country that 
was worth preserving, and for which, in time of need, 
sacrifices must be made. Men and money without 
stint were proffered to answer the President's de- 
mands. Old regiments were filled and new levies 
were raised with wonderful rapidity Our Seventh 
regiment, which had been slowly recruiting since 
May, was despatched to the field and in about thirty 



THE NINE MONTHS MEN. 9 

days two full regiments of nine months' men were 
organized and forwarded to Washington. 

The composition of these regiments, the Eleventh 
and Twelfth, and in fact most of the nine months' 
regiments, was in some respects exceptional. There 
were many very w^orthy citizens, who, from various 
causes were unable, or at least unprepared to enlist 
for so long a time as three j-ears, but yet felt the 
strong obligation to do something more than stay at 
home and encourage others to perform duties which 
equally rested on them. It may perhaps be conceded 
that there are degrees of patriotism, and that he who 
enters the service of the country in time of danger, 
prepared to remain until the danger has passed, is a 
more exalted patriot than he who when a call is made 
for a limited term offers himself in response to that 
call. But when we remember that after the attack 
on Fort Sumpter, Secretary Seward announced that 
ninety days would end the controversy so inauspic- 
iously commenced, and when we remember with 
what celerity the country responded to the Presi- 
dent's call when the first gun was fired at that now 
historic fort, and how, as in the times of 1776, men 



lU Tin; NlNli MONTHS 31EX 

left their ploughs iu the fields, their fires burning at 
their forges to answer the demand of the country, 
we may safely leave the question of assigning the 
relative degrees of patriotism to be solved by the 
metaphysician, rather than enter upon its discussion 
among those, many of Vv'hom saw the beginning and 
end of the conti-oversy which settled forever, as we 
believe, that the United States of America was not a 
confederacy but a nation. 

One other thing probably will also be conceded, 
that hostile bullets made little distinction between 
three months', nine months' or three years' men, and 
that the man who left his arm or leg on the field was 
seldom asked whether his lost member was enlisted 
for the war or only for a limited and shorter term. 

Assuredly when our Seventh and Twelfth regi- 
ments shared in the perils of the attack at Fredericks- 
burg, no questions were raised between them as to 
their respective terms of service. It was sufficient 
for them to feel that they were all serving a common 
cause and were striving for the same result. 

I have said that the composition of these two nine 
months' regiments was some^vhat cxct[)tional. The 



THE NiNio :month.s' men. 11 

great uprising from tlie despondency caused by the 
defeats in Virginia, had developed a firna determina- 
tion that no draft should take phice, but that the 
ranks should be filled by volunteers. No such en- 
thusiasm had' been aroused since the first call of the 
President. Business was forgotten and the men of 
afi"airs devoted themselves and their means to the 
country's service. Meetings were held daily in the 
several wards and the academy of music was the 
general rallying point until the work of filling the 
quota was completed. The quota under the two 
calls was, as I remember, seventeen hundred and 
ninety-one. For the nine months' service, eight 
hundred and ninety-six were required. In a few 
days some eighty thousand dollars was subscribed 
and paid to the enlisted men from Providence in the 
Eleventh and Twelfth regiments. Bounties were also 
ofli'ered by the state, the city and the towns, and pro- 
vision was also made for weekly payments by the 
city to the families or dependents of those who had 
enlisted, so that the sum received by the nine 
months' volunteers amounted to something over five 
hundred dollars for the entire term. Prizes were 



12 THE NIXE .MONTII.S' MEX. 

also offered to the ward which first filled its quota, 
and every provision was promised to the families of 
the volunteers. 

Among other organizations whose activity was 
specially worthy of notice, was the Young ]Men's 
Christian Association, who wisely determined that 
they could in no way more efficiently serve the Great 
Master, and promote the objects for which they w^ere 
organized, than to aid in upholding the government 
in its great trials. 

Through their exertions two companies were raised, 
officered by members of the Association, and these 
companies were distinctly known as the Christian 
companies. The Association never forgot its pro- 
teges from the day they first entered camp until their 
term of service was ended. As for the other com- 
panies, they were sometimes called pagans simply as 
a distinguishing name, not, of course, as indicating 
their theological status or their moral qualities. 

The Eleventh regiment was at the outstart, spe- 
cially fortunate in its commanding officer. Colonel 
Metcalf had come from the Third n giment, then in 
South Carolina, where he had done honorable service. 



THE NINE months' MEN. 13 

of which, with his chariicteristic modesty, he has only 
given us faint outlines in his papers. Some of us 
knew him before he came to us, and knew what to ex- 
pect, and it was to the general regret of the regiment 
that after a few weeks he left us and returned to 
assume command of his old regiment at Hilton 
Head. 

One of the first duties to which Colonel Metcalf 
assigned the writer, was that of an inspecting and 
mustering officer for the regiment. This position 
was one not recognized in the regulations, but I was 
acting under an order from the Governor and re- 
ceived my instructions from the Colonel. They were 
in brief, to pay no sort of respect to any recruiting 
officer's representations or to any surgeon's certificate, 
but if I did not in all respects like the appearance 
of the recruit or did not think he would make in all 
respects an excellent soldier, he could not be accept- 
ed, and the Colonel informed me he should hold me 
responsible for the strict execution of these instruc- 
tions. I was permitted to be somewhat autocratic 
over recruits, and there were, as I happened to know, 
several dead-beats who did not pass our muster 



14 THK NINE iAIONTlI.s _MKX. 

whom I aftei'WiU-ds saw in the ranks of the Twelfth 
roo-uuent. Even at this day I recall the features of 
some of them. One particularly whose name I for- 
bear to mention, whom I had known as a standing 
witness in liqnor cases in ante bellura days. He 
came from the Narragausett country, and was ready 
to serve the cause of temperance aud take his fees as 
a witness in a dozen cases a day with great regularity 
He would testify to sales of any article of liquor about 
which the prosecutor saw tit to inquire. He was a 
prohibitory enthusiast just in proportion to the 
amount of his fees as a witness. When they lessened 
his zeal weakened, and his memory failed him fre- 
quently on cross examinatiou, so that he could not 
tell whether the Hoyle Tavern was in Providence or 
Woons(jcket. 

When I saw him as a recruit I instinctively came 
to the conclusion that he would be more of an orna- 
ment to the Twelfth regiment than to ours, and so 
Colonel Browne reaped the benefit of my kindness 
and this recruit. 

Still one other one comes to mind who certainly 
must have tried the amiability of my friend, Colonel 
Browne, if he evt'r had auvthina" to do with him. 



THE NINE months' MEN. 15 

His boast on his return was that he hardly did a day's 
active duty during his term of service. This man's 
strong hold was inactive duty 

The result of this sifting process certainly did give 
an excellent personnel to the enlisted men of the regi- 
ment, and it is quite likely that had Colonel Metcalf in- 
spected his officers with as much care as the men had 
to undergo, his mustering officer at least, might 
also have been turned over to the tender mercies of 
Colonel Browne, but Colonel Browne was fortunately 
saved from such a catastrophe and Colonel Metcalf had 
to submit to it. A considerable number of our line 
officers at first were without any militia, not to say 
military experience. The writer had never drilled 
with a company until after the war begun, and never 
occupied any other military position than that of a 
fine member of the Light Infantry, and had no more 
idea of the manual of arms than one of the first 
officers of one of our regiments who, it is said, 
devised a new order in tactics as follows : "By .file 
present arms. On the right commence presenting." 
Of course we were unskilled, and I always felt a 
kindly sympathy for one of our officers somewhat 



It; THE NINE months' ilEN. 

acldic'ted to the use of polysyllabic words, the mean- 
ing of which he did not always fully comprehend. 
He was called upon to make out for the first time, a 
certificate of disability for discharare for one of his 
nirn, and he wished to sa}' that cause of the disa- 
bility ^vas not known to exist at the time of his 
enlistment. The certificate he actually signed was, 
"the causation of the fatality of this soldier was not 
known to exist before his enlistment." 

But despite our want of military knowledge at the 
outstart, the position to which we were assigned dur- 
ing the first months of our service, afforded us all 
ample opportunity to learn tactics and the duties of 
soldiers. I shall never forget ni}' first night on 
picket within a \'e\v days after our arrival in camp 
near Fort Ethan Allen. Our picket line extended 
from the Potomac to the road leadinc: towards Lees- 
burg. At midnight I started to make the grand 
rounds. .Aly quartci's were some fifty rods in rear 
of the picket line. To say that the night was pitchy 
dark, would in no sense describe the situation. I 
had lieard of the blackness of midnio;ht, but never had 
I seen such darkness. It was impossible to distin- 



THE NINE months' MEN. 17 

guish anything. But an important duty was imposed 
upon me, at least I was so informed, and so under- 
stood. This was the first detail for picket duty from 
the regiment. But what could be done ; I could not 
see anything. But yet it was my duty to visit the 
picket line and see something, and so I moved to- 
wards the outposts, and I kept moving and moving 
until the welcome light of day appeared. We did 
not find our picket line till morning, and did not find 
an outpost or any other post. The rain was pour- 
ing iu torrents during our tramp. I awaited with 
considerable anxiety the appearance of the Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel commanding the entire picket line. But 
when he came I found that he too had succeeded no bet- 
ter than we had. The darkness was simply unpene- 
trable. Fortunately picket duty at this point was 
dangerous only in one way, — that you might be shot 
by your own men. The enemy were many miles 
from us at the time. 

The regiment soon found permanent quarters on 
Miner's Hill, where for many weeks the daily round 
of drill, picket and camp duty was our allotted task. 
We did not annoy the enemy and they did not dis- 



18 THE KINE months' ilEX. 

turb us. We had become quite proficient in drill, 
had learned that a considerable part of a soldier's duty 
was to obey, not criticise orders, and this kind of 
war did not seem to us such a fearful thing. One 
night shortly after Colonel Metcalf had left us and 
we had been surrendered to the tender mercies of 
Lieutenant-Colonel Pitman, (who, whatever else may 
be said in his praise, certainly was not spoiled by 
the excessive admiration of his regiment,) the long 
roll sounded and off we started in heavy marching 
order to intercept and capture Stuart's Cavalry. 

This was our first long march. Stuart, however, 
did not see fit to wait for our arrival, but proceeded 
about his business, leaving us to attend to ours, 
which was to march back in heavier marching order 
than we set out. Every one seemed exceedingly 
desirous to know why our regiment alone carried 
knapsacks with Avhich to catch Stuart while the other 
regiments had none. The answer was that the Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel so ordered. This was our first 
attempt to capture cavalry. We had not then learned 
what infantry men now proudly claim is the chief 
use of cavalry, that is, to take all the best things not 
out of their reach, and to supply themselves fi'om in- 



THE NINE months' MEN. 19 

fantry with all that the cavalry most desire. It was 
on this march that one of our infantry made the novel 
remark, that he should like to see a dead cavalry man. 
It was indeed a rash remark. The soldier never 
knew why he made it, but somehow it has passed 
into history, and when an infantry man now a days is 
hard pressed, when all other resources fail, like the 
followers of Mahomet he turns his face to the East 
and from the depths of his despair, he utters the 
agonizing cry, "Oh that I might see a dead cavalry 
man." 

General Stuart having no time to wait for us to 
capture him, we returned to the ordinary tour of 
camp duties away from the vicinity of the enemy. 

Some weeks later we were assigned to the most 
annoying and unpleasant duty that can be imposed 
upon a soldier ; that of keeping perpetual guard over 
our convalescent soldiers, whom we were compelled 
to watch over and keep under as much restraint as if 
they had been prisoners of war. They looked upon 
us as their jailers, and they hooted at us and taunted 
us as home guards not daring to go to the front. The 
bountv which our men had received was also a sub- 



20 THE NINE JNIONTHS' MEN. 

ject of unftivorable comment from those inside the 
camp who had enlisted in the day of small things in 
the way of bounties. This duty imposed upon the 
regiment could have but a demoralizing eflect upon 
it, and it was disagreeable and monotonous to the last 
decree. At this time a new Colonel came to us in 
the person of Colonel Rogers. He at once began to 
attack the authorities at Washington, and faithfully, 
continually and persistently labored with and belab- 
ored the war department to have his regiment sent 
to the front. It was a question for sometime which 
would Avin in this contest, the war department or 
Colonel Rogers. But the department at last came 
out ahead, as it finally determined that there was no 
way to get rid of the persistent importunities of the 
Colonel, unless he was himself confined at the con- 
valescent camp or sent to the front. The latter al- 
ternative was accepted. His stay with us was highly 
agreeable and peaceful, but his voice was for war, 
and unless current history is much at fault, our 
friend found when he assumed command of the Sec- 
ond Rhode Island, wars of various kinds already 
prepared for him. But as was characteristic of him. 



THE NINE months' MEN. 21 

he soon brought order out of seeming chaos, and 
honored his regiment, his state and himself by his 
gallant deeds. 

There were many things in which Colonel Metcalf 
and Colonel Rogers were decidedly unlike. They 
had in common, a high sense of honor and no one 
ever thought of questioning their manliness or 
bravery As their deeds have passed into history, it 
is no breach of the maxim, " nothing but good of the 
departed," to touch briefly upon some of their per- 
sonal qualities. Colonel Metcalf, as a rule, com- 
manded without saying anj^thing about it. When 
Colonel Kogers commanded he couldn't help saying 
something about it. No one seeino; Colonel Metcalf 
ofFduty or un-uniformed, would have suspected that he 
had any command, while the most casual observer 
looking at Colonel Rogers, even when asleep, would 
instinctively know that even then the Colonel, at 
least, thought that he was in the exercise of author- 
ity Colonel Metcalf, though not pleased at the idea 
of having his regiment doing simply camp and garri- 
son duty, yet was not disposed to create much ex- 
citement about it, while Colonel Rogers within 



22 THE NINE JIOM'Hs' MEN. 

twenty-four hours after taking command, l)egan to 
belabor the war department for not sending him with 
his regiment into the thickest of the fight, and there 
was but one way to remedy the trouble al)out the 
location of the regiment, and that was to send Colonel 
Rogers away to another command, and so we lost 
our second Colonel, and the war department had a 
i-est. 

But the regiment still remained during the winter 
and early spring months in the muddy surroundings 
of convalescent camp, performing the monotonous 
duty of camp guard. Drills were out of the question, 
as the details for guard called for all the force we 
could muster, Officers were largely detached on 
special duty on courts-martial and the like. The 
writer at one time found himself occupying the anom- 
alous position of member of the court, counsel for 
the prisoner and the principal witness against him. 
It is perhaps unnecessary to sa}' that the accused was 
not acquitted. 

There was one thing in which all the line officers 
were united and in which their unity was never 
shaken, which was that there was one otficer of the 



THE NINE months' MEN. 23 

regiment whom they did not desire to have promoted 
to the colonelcy- But a more remarkable statement, 
and one that seems hardly credible, is that there was 
not a line officer who sought the position. It was, 
and is, of course, an open secret among Ehode Isl- 
and officers, that the then state executive was sup- 
posed to have, if not a mind, at least a will, which 
he called his own, and that will generally was to do 
with every officer just what that officer didn't wish 
to have done. 

Some people call this quality strength of mind, 
some firmness, some obstinacy and some pure cus- 
sedness. The question is a somewhat perplexing 
one, but after mature consideration of the subject in 
its various bearings, lam quite strongly inclined to 
accept the latter definition as the true one. 

We interviewed senators and representatives and 
politicians at home, but the governor never knew 
from us what our wishes were, and therefore could 
not gratify himself by thwarting them. So when 
Captain Church, of the Seventh, was sent to us from 
the front, as our new colonel, he met with a warm 
and welcome recejDtion. He believed that the author- 



24 THE NINE -MONTHS MEN 

ities knew as well as he did where his regiment should 
he placed to do the most good, and, though he was 
not at all pleased at their then post of duty, I under- 
stand that he was informed by the department that 
they had heard something of his regiment from his 
immediate predecessor, that applications for u change 
of its position had better be postponed for a few 
days, at least, as there were several like applications 
of Colonel Rogers on hand that had not yet been 
examined. 

Colonel Church was, like his predecessor, a capi- 
tal commanding officer, greatly respected by all his 
command, and they were ready and willing to follow 
where he should lead. Soon after he assumed com- 
mand the regiment embarked for Sufiblk. Now, we 
thought we were to see something of life at the front, 
surely. Our voyage from Alexandria to Norfolk we 
shall long remember. Our transport was the old 
steamer "Argo," (re-naraed "Hero,") which some of 
us may recall us the craft which used to ply between 
this city and Rocky Point in the primitive days of 
that now famous shore resort. It seemed to us then 
as if extra pains had been taken to make our accom- 



THE NINE months' MEN. 25 

raodations as uncomfortuble as possible. There were 
no sleeping accommodations whatever. Even the 
floors of the cabins were covered with sheets of 
boiler-iron, strewn helter skelter, and we revelled in 
the luxury of being iron-clad when we tried to sleep. 
The iron-clad fever was then at its height. 

Up to the time of our departure from Washiugton 
our men had known nothing of the hardships of army 
life. We had already been pi'ovided with excellent 
quarters, an abundance of satisfactory rations, and, 
by the kindness of the friends at home, were gener- 
ously supplied with luxuries. We knew nothing of 
long, forced marches, scanty supplies and insufficient 
clothing, and when the order came to leave behind 
our camp equipage, and the issue of shelter tents 
took the place of the usual tents, we began to realize 
that the change was coming. We, however, soon 
found what our betters had learned before, that one 
of the hardest enemies with which an army has to 
contend is its baggage-train ; or, as the old Roman 
captains used to say, its " impedimenta." We all 
know how often the baggage-trains upset the carefully 

4 



2(i THE NINE months' 3IEN. 

arranged plans of our generals and was the unavoida- 
ble cause of defeat. 

At the time of our arrival at Suffolk, that place 
was besieged by General Longstreet, and our troops 
were under the command of General J. J. Peck. 
The town was really a fortification on a large scale. 
The confederates were greatly desirous to gain pos- 
session of this point as the first step towards recover- 
ing Norfolk, and with it, the control of the mouth of 
the James river. There were two railroads between 
Sufiblk and Norfolk, one of which led to Petersburg 
and the other to Weldon, North Carolina, but so long 
as Suflfolk was in our control these roads were of lit- 
tle service to the confederacy It was also of great 
importance to us to keep Longstreet where he was, 
so that Lee could not have his forces in the coming 
contest with Hooker. Longstreet was kept south of 
Suffolk until the day after the battle of Chancellors- 
ville, when he withdrew from the siege which had 
lasted some thirty days. If Lee had been fortunate 
enough to have had General Longstreet with his 
nearly forty thousand troops at Chancellorsville, the 
result of that battle might have been even more dis- 
astrous to the Union cause. 



THE NINE- months' MEN. 27 

There the regiment found by actual experience 
what was meant by the term "march," for we pur- 
sued under General Corcoran the confederate troops 
to the Black Water, making one hundred and twenty- 
five miles in five days. We were generally in line 
at three o'clock in the morning, then standing until 
nine or ten, moving during the hottest part of the 
day, all, as we understood, to discipline us in march- 
ing under the most unfavorable circumstances. 

Our next post of duty was to join in the feint on 
Kichmond by way of the peninsula, and we occupied 
Yorktown and for a few weeks garrisoned the forts 
at Williamsburg, until our term of service was 
ended. 

But I have wandered from the purpose of this pa- 
per, which was to try, in a very general way, to indi- 
cate the true position occupied by the nine months' 
men in the war. 

They were in one sense emergency men, and in 
another sense they were really the reserve of the 
great armies. 

That there was an emergency, and a great and 
critical emergency, in the affairs of the country at 



28 THE NINE months' MKN. 

the close of the summer of 1862, hardly needs asser- 
tion. It goes without saying. The defeated but 
still unconquered Army of the Potomac bad lost im- 
mensely in men and material, and, more than all, it 
had lost its prestige, and nothing tangible or visible 
in the way of success had been accomplished. The 
credit of the country had been strained, as it seemed, 
to its utmost capacity General McClellan was losing 
the marvellous confidence the country had reposed in 
him. Lee, flushed with apparent success, was mov- 
ing northward and threatening our capital and its 
northern and western connections. 

It became a vital question whether timely enlist- 
ments could be made for three years so as to recruit 
the shattered regiments in the field to meet Lee's ad- 
vancing columns and still provide for the safety of 
Washington ; a matter of paramount political and 
military necessity Under these circumstances time 
was of equal value with money These nine months' 
volunteers could as well man the defences of Wash- 
ington, until they were fitted for service in the field, 
as those who had undergone the active campaigns of 
the peninsula and elsewhere, and who were still in 



THE NINE months' MEN. 29 

the field. The one great demand was to strengthen 
the two armies in Virginia, now practically united 
again as the Army of the Potomac, never, in all 
time, to be known by any other name, and not only 
prevent Lee from marching northward, but drive 
him back again within the defences of Richmond. 

No force could do this so well or so effectively as 
that army which for so many months had been ar- 
rayed against him. And it seemed, at that time, 
that a sufficient number of men to serve for the war, 
could not be put into the field rapidly enough to fill 
up the depleted regiments. 

At this late day, with the advantage of full knowl- 
edge of the results, it hardly seems to be a matter 
of dispute, that the government acted with great 
wisdom in calling for these new levies for this limited 
time, rather than incur the risk of failing to recruit 
a sufficient number of men for three years, in season 
to answer the emergency. 

It has been sometimes said, even by soldiers, that 
the nine months' men were mere mercenaries who 
volunteered under the stimulus of excessive boun- 
ties, and that they were not actuated by honorable 



30 THE NINE months' MEN. 

or patriotic motives. It is undoubtedly true that 
there was, for a time, a wide-spread feeling among 
the old regiments who had enlisted at the opening of 
the war, when bounties were nominal, that the new 
levies had been more generously treated than the 
old ones ; and it is equally true that for the mo- 
ment the veterans looked with jealousy upon the new 
comers with their well-filled pockets. But this feel- 
ing was short-lived, and when, as later, they fought 
side by side, and each strove to win the victories 
they all so much desired, the former jealousy, un- 
kindness, or by whatever name it may be called, 
vanished forever, and their only thought was that 
they were all striving for a common cause and for 
their common country - 

Speaking with some little knowledge of the men 
who served in the Eleventh and Twelfth regiments, 
and with the men in other regiments with whom I 
was brought in contact, I feel warranted in saying, 
without fear of contradiction, that no state sent 
into the service during the war, any better regi- 
ments in everything that goes to make a good 
regiment, than these two nine months' regiments ; 



THE NINE months' MEN. 31 

and I do not hesitate to say here and everywhere, 
that in the character of the enlisted men, in the 
fidelity with which they performed every duty, disa- 
greeable as well as agreeable, and in their general 
personnel, these two regiments had no superiors. 

It is quite true that one of these regiments was in 
no great engagement and carries on its colors no his- 
toric battle names. Yet it is to be remembered that 
it had not itself the ordering of its own destiny. It 
went where it was ordered to go and performed the 
duty to which it was assigned, and left no stain to 
sully the fair fame and honor of the state or country. 
It is not every soldier to whom is accorded the honor 
of bearing the colors. It is not every regiment that 
turns the tide of battle and wins the victory. Yet 
those who, in the contest of arms, in whatever sta- 
tion placed, faithfully performed their assigned du- 
ties, however lowly they might seem to be, are not to 
be despised because they were not given the oppor- 
tunity to do the valiant deeds for which others, differ- 
ently situated, have secured justly merited honor. 



32 THE NINE months' MEN. 



NOTE. 

The regimental records show that the entire number of enlisted 
men discharged for all causes, was forty-eight. Nine men deserted 
and there were eight deaths, making the entire number of casual- 
ties, from all causes, during nine months, sixty-flve.